Articles: Press Release
North Carolina Sweeps World's Grand Championships; Four-peats for
Walterway's Remember Me, Big Red!
United States Equestrian Federation, Inc.
4047 Iron Works Parkway
Lexington, KY 40511-8483
Tel: (859) 258-2472
Fax (859) 231-6662
Web site: www.usef.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2008
Content provided by Jessica Fisher, American Saddlebred Horse
Louisville, Kentucky - Saturday night in Freedom Hall was one of those
performances that demonstrated once again the unpredictability of sport.
It was a mix of the familiar, the new, and the unexpected, cast against
a backdrop of 12,000 cheering fans - just when the cynics are saying the
results are knowable before the competition takes place (as in the
racing pundits ignoring every horse besides Big Brown in the Belmont
Stakes this year!), the horses and their connections prove there's just
no controlling Mother Nature and her unknowable equine caprices.
In the world of horses, four wins is a big number! That two horses in
the same, most prestigious of championship nights could both score
four-peats, one an American Saddlebred and one a Standardbred, is beyond
all odds. But it happened.
First, in a class of nine stellar Five-Gaited ladies' horses, CH
Walterway's Remember Me and Ceil Wheeler of Virginia emerged on top yet
again, for the fourth straight year! Just think of it - four different
sets of competitors, four different sets of judges, and four different
sets of circumstances, not to mention horse and rider each aging four
years in the process - just how remarkable this is begins to set in.
Remember Me has been a top performer since the year he was foaled, one
of those winners in hand, with the mental toughness and physical ability
(not to mention superlative training over the years by Nelson Green and
John Conatser) to go to the top in high performance competition later
on. One would have to agree he's the quintessential ladies' horse of
his era, the one the rules describe perfectly!
And what words are there to describe Big Red and Raymond Shively? This
pair are like that watch you've heard about - except these fine jewels
of a Roadster and his trainer just keep on trotting and ticking . . .
and also keep on licking every opponent in sight.
In the three World's Grand Championships, the opposite scenarios played
out. Two of the three included defending champions back for more; yet
all three ended with the crowning of new horses at the top of their
The Fine Harness horses traditionally appear first, and the audience
sensed an upset from the moment the gate opened and top horse after top
horse, eight in all, some familiar and some not-so, marched in with all
those great harness trots and just lit up the crowd. The aptly named
Mother Mary (Revival x Mother Superior), another of those graduates from
the American Saddlebred Registry Futurity Prize Program, had begun
knocking at the door in this section, driven expertly by a smiling,
lovely and determined Sandy Lilly, a Fine Harness picture the way it's
supposed to look, and to the roar of the audience this night the door
opened and that blanket of white roses just added to the delight. In a
sense, given that the contention ran so deep, it was hard to imagine all
three judges could see it the same way, without a workout, which is a
tribute to this mare's correctness in harness for her new owners Anita
and Richard Simpson, not to mention the wisdom of their purchase.
In the Three-Gaited Grand Championship, another new champion was pinned.
Seven trotted onto the green shavings, with five men competing against
two ladies. Guess which gender was champion and reserve? The winner,
Mary Jane Marcum Orr on CH Our Charming Lady, even brought her own
cheering section, complete with flash cards so as to leave no doubt as
to their favorite! And was this lady determined - she was a ring
general, and her lovely bay mare waved her legs as directed - and then
delivered a great, fist-pumping honor round with the yellow flowers,
complete with shout-outs to her supporters in the stands.
In the final World's Grand Championship, 11 Five-Gaited horses answered
the call in what promised to be a wide-open affair. Last year's Reserve
Champion, According To Lynn, was back for more with Mary Gaylord
McClean, and the crowd seemed to think it was her turn this time around,
especially since the defending champion didn't come to Kentucky this
year. Then the Lexington Jr. League champ, CH Breaking News with Peter
Cowart, trotting and racking up a storm, gained more and more attention
as the class developed. Finally, in the only workout in the big three
classes this night, the judges put these two back out for more, along
with Callaway's Karla and Debbie Foley, (SA) Calif First Night Out and
Neil Visser, and Thunderstorm Warning with Tammy Devore.
In the end, this tri-color too went to North Carolina, with Peter Cowart
for his owners Beth Arndt and Megan McClure, while a smiling and great
sport Mary McClean rode up for Reserve Champion honors again this year.
Announcer Peter Doubleday interviewed Cowart before the final 2008
victory parade, who said the new World's Grand Champion already had a
home for life, was never and would never be for sale, and that his
owners were that kind of supportive people, of him and his horse. He
told of watching CH Sky Watch win all those years ago, and dreaming he'd
like to do that himself some day.
Well, now he has . . . so Peter with his wife Kim, a World's Grand
Champion in her own right, are returning to North Carolina after a night
that left plenty of Kentuckians wondering if the center of gravity in
the Saddlebred world might just have felt a seismic shock. Carolina
rules this year!
For more information, contact Jessica Fisher, ASHA's Communications
Manager, at (859) 259-2742 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation(r) is to provide
for equestrian sport in the United States of America by promoting the
of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a
foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare
of its human and equine athletes.